There is a need for greater compatibility of bioplastics (i.e. plastics derived from agricultural OR wood-based biomass) with home and municipal composting.
Sponsoring Department: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)
Funding Mechanism: Grant
Opening date: October 18, 2018
Closing date: December 13, 2018, 14:00 Eastern Standard Time
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Plastic pollution is an acute global problem. If current trends continue, plastics pollution in the ocean could reach a 1:1 weight ratio with fish by 2050. The majority of the plastic waste entering the environment is from single use plastics that leak from recycling/disposal systems. Plastic waste is also as issue in Canada where Canadians generate roughly 3.3 million tonnes of plastic waste annually.
Biodegradable bioplastics have been identified by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a means of addressing the problem of single use plastic "leakage". They have less environmental impact if leakage occurs and can they can be incorporated into composting infrastructure. Biodegradable bioplastics could also form feedstocks for bioenergy and other circular economy applications.
Unfortunately, existing biodegradable plastics often have a number of preconditions to degradability that result in them only being truly compostable in a narrow range of conditions (e.g. may not be compatible with home composting, or may need specialized industrial composting) this limits their practical application and further contributes to plastic waste.
To realize the potential of biodegradable bioplastics, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and Natural Resources Canada are seeking novel solutions to improve the compatibility of bioplastics derived from agriculture or wood-based biomass with home and municipal composting systems.
Desired outcomes and considerations
The goal of this challenge is improved biodegradability of bio-based plastics derived from agricultural or wood-based biomass suitable for use as replacements for single use plastics (e.g. packaging).
To be accepted for this challenge proposed bioplastics must meet the following criteria:
- The product must achieve biodegration during composting at rate similar to other known composting materials and in line with international standards such as those set by American Society for Testing and Materials, the European Committee for Standardization, and The German Institute for Standardization.
- The product must be eligible to be certified as compostable.
- The product must be designed to make it distinguishable from non-compostable plastics to ensure it is sent to the correct facility.
- The product must use either agricultural or wood-based biomass as feedstock.
Challenge proposals must clearly indicate whether agricultural or forestry biomass is being used as feedstock for the bioplastic product in the application to phase 1 of the challenge.
Technical improvements could include:
- New or improved product with a wider range of composting conditions that would aid in greater adoption.
- New or improved product able to completely degrade in the environment with negligible impact.
- New or improved product that able to be incorporated into biofuel production supply chains.
Background and context
It should be noted that not all bio-based plastics are intended to be readily biodegradable. Many are developed to mimic fossil-fuel based plastics as closely as possible, for performance-intensive or structural applications such as car parts. These applications would not be the focus of this challenge.
This challenge is also part of the larger joint challenge organized through Environment and Climate Change Canada, and its response to the plastics charter signed by G7 leaders earlier this year.
The G7 Oceans plastics charter adopted at Charlevoix in June 2018 called upon Ministers of the Environment to advance new initiatives, such as the Plastics Innovation Challenge, to promote R&D of new and more sustainable technologies, design, and production methods to address plastics waste in the ocean.
Maximum value and travel
Maximum grant value
Multiple grants could result from this Challenge.
Funding of up to $150,000.00 CAD for up to 6 months could be available for any Phase 1 grant resulting from this Challenge.
Funding of up to $1,000,000.00 CAD for up to 2 years could be available for any Phase 2 grant resulting from this Challenge. Only eligible businesses that received Phase 1 funding could be considered for Phase 2.
This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to award any grant for the total maximum funding value.
No travel is anticipated
Progress Review Meeting
Final Review Meeting
Solution proposals can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:
- for profit
- incorporated in Canada (federally or provincially)
- 499 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employeesFootnote *
- research and development activities that take place in Canada
- 50% or more of its annual wages, salaries and fees are currently paid to employees and contractors who spend the majority of their time working in CanadaFootnote *
- 50% or more of its FTE employees have Canada as their ordinary place of workFootnote *
- 50% or more of its senior executives (Vice President and above) have Canada as their principal residenceFootnote *
Part 1: Mandatory and Minimum Pass Mark Criteria
Proposals must meet all mandatory criteria (Questions 1a and 2) and achieve the minimum pass mark for Question 3 in order to be deemed responsive and proceed to Part 2.
1 a. Scope
Describe your proposed solution and how it responds to the challenge. Include in your description the scientific and technological basis upon which your solution is proposed and clearly identify how your solution meets all of the EssentialOutcomes (if identified) in the Desired Outcomes and Considerations section in the Challenge Notice.
Mandatory - Pass/Fail
2. Current Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
Mandatory - Pass/Fail
Pass: The Applicant/Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution is currently between TRLs 1 and 4 (inclusive), and provided justification by explaining the research and development (R&D) that has taken place to bring the solution to the stated TRL.
Fail: The Applicant/Bidder has not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the current TRL is between 1 to 4 (inclusive) including:
Describe the novelty of your solution and how it advances the state-of-the-art over existing technologies, including competing solutions.
Point Rated with Minimum Pass Mark
The minimum pass mark for this criteria is 4 points.
0 points/Fail: The Applicant/Bidder has not demonstrated that the proposed solution advances the state-of-the-art over existing technologies, including available competing solutions; OR
The stated advancements are described in general terms but are not substantiated with specific, measurable evidence.
Part 2: Point-Rated Criteria
Proposals that do not achieve the overall minimum score of at least 55 points out of a possible 110 points (50%) will be declared non-responsive and given no further consideration.
The overall minimum score is determined by adding the Applicant/Bidder's scores from the following questions together (1b, 3, 4-13).
Describe how your proposed solution addresses the Additional Outcomes (if identified) in the Desired Outcomes and Considerations section in the Challenge Notice.
If no Additional Outcomes are identified in the Challenge Notice, Bidders/Applicants will receive 10 points
4. Phase 1 Science and Technology Risks
Identify potential scientific and/or technological risks to the successful development of the proof of concept and how they will be mitigated in Phase 1?
5. Benefits to Canada
Describe the benefits that could result from the successful development of your solution. Applicants/Bidders should consider the potential benefits using the following three categories:
6. Phase 1 Project Plan
Demonstrate a feasible Phase 1 project plan by completing the table.
Note: Phase 1 cannot exceed 6 months and TRL 4.
7. Phase 1 Project Risks
Identify potential project risks (eg. Human resources, financial, project management, etc) to the successful development of the proof of concept and how they will be mitigated?
8. Phase 1 Implementation Team
Demonstrate how your project implementation team has the required management and technological skill sets and experience to deliver the project plan for Phase 1 by completing the table. A member of the implementation team can have more than one role.
Include the labour rates and level of effort for each member. A day is defined as 7.5 hours of work, exclusive of meal breaks. The labour rates and level of effort will be reviewed as part of the evaluation for Question 10.
If your business were to receive funding from Innovative Solutions Canada, describe what actions (e.g., recruitment strategy, internships, co-op placements, etc.) might be taken in Phase 1 to support the participation of under-represented groups (e.g., women, youth, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, visible minorities) in the research and development of the proposed solution.
10. Phase 1 Financial Proposal
Demonstrate a realistic financial proposal for the Phase 1 project plan by completing the table.
11. Phase 1 Financial Controls, Tracking and Oversight
Describe the financial controls, tracking and oversight that will be used to manage the public funds throughout Phase 1.
12. Phase 2 Strategy
Describe a realistic strategy for the prototype development if selected to participate in Phase 2.
Responses should include:
13. Commercialization Approach
Describe your overall commercialization approach for the proposed solution.
Responses should include:
Questions and answers
All incoming questions regarding a specific challenge will be posted here with the corresponding response.
If you have a question about a challenge, please send it to ISED-ISDE@canada.ca.
You can also consult the Frequently asked questions about the Innovative Solutions Canada Program.
A glossary is also available.